Airtel employee, 7 others held for smuggling gold worth Rs 2.1 cr at Delhi airport

New Delhi: With the arrest of eight persons, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted an international gold smuggling syndicate which was running with the help of employees of kiosk shops at Delhi’s IGI airport. DRI claims to have seized around 6.6 kg gold having a market value of Rs 2.1 crore.

A DRI official said the mastermind of the gang are father-son duo, who are known Delhi-based paper traders having a turnover of over Rs 100 crore. This syndicate was involved in smuggling of gold since past one year. So far, they have smuggled around 100 kg of gold through Dhaka International airport and Delhi’s IGI airport.

The duo arranged carriers from Delhi, Rajasthan and adjoining areas through their agents. The investigation also revealed that another set of people, who are a part of the syndicate, are stationed in Dubai and are involved in the purchase of gold and ensuring customs clearance at Dubai airport.

The modus operandi

A senior DRI officer said that on their arrival at Delhi airport from Dubai, the carriers handed over the gold bars to an accused, an employee working at the Airtel kiosk at IGI Airport, in the passengers’ toilet. The man in Delhi would then deliver it to another person outside the airport. Hawala channels were being used to transfer money from India to Dubai. The mastermind of the syndicate gives commission to every member of the syndicate depending upon their role.

Officials estimate that in June 2010 this gang had smuggled around 23 kg of gold through IGI airport.

How did the Airtel employee get past security?

Employees working at kisosks inside IGI airport have a valid ID card issued by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). Dur to this, they have access to the arrival, departure, and security holding area. They roam freely around the airport without raising suspicion.

As this employee had access inside the airport and carried a BCAS authorised card, he was subjected to lesser security.

The DRI official said that there is a possibility of more such gangs involved in smuggling with the help of airport access card holders.

Shashank Shekhar

About Shashank Shekhar

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Shashank Shekhar works as a Deputy Editor for DB Post. He specialises in investigative, terrorism, internal security and policy-making related stories. He has an active interest in tracking cybercrime, financial fraud, technology, automobile and latest trends. He can be reached at: Follow him on Twitter @shashankrnq